Amy Schauer

Amy Schauer (1871-l956), teacher of cookery, was born on 2 June 1871 in Sydney, daughter of Katherine and William Schauer, a cooper. She was awarded the certificate in domestic science of the Sydney Central Technical College, and extended her expertise in the culinary arts through private tuition.

She commenced employment at the Brisbane Technical College in February 1895 as a teacher of cookery and allied subjects, and except for a short period in 1909 she remained in this post until appointed a senior instructress in the Domestic Science Branch, Department of Women's Work, in 1922. She received permission to teach invalid cookery at the Mater Hospital, for which she was paid ten shillings per student. With her sister, who had accompanied her to Brisbane, she wrote the renowned cookery books Cookery for Invalids (1908), Fruit Preserving and Confectionery (1908) and Theory of Cookery (1909). In 1909 all three books were prescribed in the domestic science syllabus for Queensland technical colleges. Cookery for Invalids was a text for a course 'specially designed to enable students, whether as amateur or professional nurses, to intelligently cooperate with the medical attendants in the proper dieting of their patients'. Miss Schauer probably wrote to meet perceived needs, not only in educational institutions but also in the wider society. Theory of Cookery went immediately to a second edition. Published later as The Schauer Australian Cookery Book it was still used in the kitchens of many Queensland homes in the 1960s.

During the 1914-18 war, Miss Schauer prepared and presented courses in basic field, camp and invalid cookery to the Australian Army Medical Corps. When Queensland's first Rural School was established in 1917 at Nambour she was appointed to it one day a week, travelling by train to take classes, and sometimes holding evening classes for adults. The appointment was withdrawn in March 1917, enabling her to devote more time to public cookery demonstrations in Brisbane. Her Central Technical College class staged half hour demonstrations at the Royal National Association Exhibition which included preparation of an invalid's tray, a fish breakfast and a 'war dinner'. During the influenza epidemic of 1919 she gave public lectures on invalid cookery.

As chief instructor at the Domestic Science School, she developed cookery courses for Queensland technical colleges and schools; she wrote the cookery component of the rural schools curricula and after her retirement in 1937 compiled 'simple textbooks on the principles of cookery and nutrition' for use in rural schools. A new edition of the Schauer Cookery Book took note of latest developments in nutrition. In 1938 under the auspices of the Nutrition Council she gave a series of demonstrations for the Mothercraft Association. Her recipes were used in fund-raising for the Australian Comforts Fund during the war.

In retirement she conducted the Aged Christian Women's Home. She died on 13 August 1956.

Donna Phillips Ryan

Susan Addison and Judith McKay A Good Plain Cook: an Edible History of Queensland l985.